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London’s town centres to be bolstered with new officers

The Metropolitan Police has announced details of how town centres will be bolstered with hundreds of new police officers as part of a new local policing boost.

The announcement reveals that the capital will soon be getting an additional 650 police officers who will work solely in busy public places and other areas, including those where women and girls often feel unsafe.

From this, 500 officers will form town centre teams across the capital and will be based permanently in busy neighbourhoods. The extra officers will patrol at the times that will have the most impact on crime as well as on public safety, such as in the evenings.

A further 150 officers will join London’s dedicated ward officers – commonly referred to as ‘Bobbie’s on the beat’ – who are already based in communities and work with Londoners to drive down crime and problem solve local issues, including concerns raised by women about areas or individuals.

The town centre teams follow the creation of 12 Predatory Offender Units in 2020, which to date have arrested more than 2,000 suspects for domestic abuse, sex offences and child abuse; and continue to focus on the most dangerous offenders who present the highest harm to women and girls.

It is expected the first tranche of teams and officers will be in place by late 2021. All 19 teams are expected to be in place by spring 2022.

Nick Ephgrave, Met Police Assistant Commissioner, said: “Our growth enables us to increase our presence in busy neighbourhoods and town centres and be even more focused on protecting people and solving the long-term crime and anti-social behaviour issues we know people care about most – like violent crime, and violence and harassment committed against women and girls.

“Local policing is at the heart of everything we do and we know that we are so much more effective if we are in communities and neighbourhoods, working side-by-side with all Londoners, listening and engaging with them, tackling the issues that make them feel unsafe.

“We want communities to regularly see and get to know their local officers, so that they trust and have confidence in them, knowing they are there to protect and keep them safe.”

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